In a good sign for retailers, the National Retail Federation today now expects holiday retail sales to rise 3.8 percent to $469.1 billion, a full percentage point higher than its previous estimate of 2.8 percent.

The group cited a strong Black Friday weekend, led by midnight openings on the day after Thanksgiving, along with indications consumers still have plenty of gift buying to do as Christmas quickly approaches.

“Consumer spending this holiday season has surpassed expectations, though many shoppers continue to stick to their budgets and buy only what they need,” said NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.

If the NRF's prediction holds true (the group's forecasts tend to lean a bit on the optimistic side), one wonders how retailers would've fared had there been no Internet or Black Friday midnight openings.

Just some food for thought.

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